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In Georgia, what is the Standard of Care in Emergency Room Cases regarding the Premature Removal of the Backboard and Neck Brace ~ part one?

Unlike the case in point in my prior blog post where the man lost his finger, one of the most common ER medical malpractice claims in Georgia is the Deviation of the Standard of Emergency Care for the Premature Removal of the Backboard and Neck Brace. In these cases, the questions that are typically asked when determining what the Standard of Care is in these situations and whether or not there has been a Breach of said Standard of Care are as follows along with an explanation of why these questions are important questions to ask when evaluating an ER Medical Malpractice case involving the type of deviation listed herein above. The answers to these, and other, questions will determine in part if the Standard of Care has been breached and, therefore, whether or not there is a potential Medical Malpractice Case to further pursue.

The first four questions will be addressed in this blog post part one, and the remaining questions will be addressed in blog post part two.

The first question to ask is whether or not the patient was conscious or unconscious when the brace was removed? This is important since the most controversial area in the evaluation for cervical spine injury is the issue of how to manage the unconscious patient since the unconscious patient can not respond and the physician must make decisions based on observations without patient feedback.

The second question to ask is whether or not alertness, neck pain and spine tenderness were assessed in the patient. This is important since asymptomatic patients must be assessed for alertness, neck pain and spinal tenderness before removal of the collar. If there is any neck pain, spinal tenderness, or the patient is still unconscious, then the collar should not be removed (2009) 40 ESINJR 8 795-800.

The third question to ask is whether or not the collar was or was not removed? This is important since the collar should only be removed for patients who are asymptomatic, awake and alert and have no neck pain or spine tenderness without further radiographic examinations (2009) 40 ESINJR 8 795-800.

The fourth question to ask is whether or not the patient sustained other injuries along with the suspected spinal cord injury? This is important since assessment for cervical spine injury is an important component in the evaluation of the injured patient. The cervical spine should be immobilized with a semi-rigid cervical collar while immediate life-threatening injuries are identified and treated. Any removal prior to this evaluation is a cause for a breach of the standard of care (2011) 91 ESRCNA 1 209-216.

We are experts at evaluating these, and other, types of Emergency Room cases so if you or a loved one has been injured or killed by the negligent acts of ER personnel, then it is important that you Contact Us as early on as possible so that we may evaluate your case to determine whether or not the Standard of Care was Breached in the Emergency Room as it pertains to the potential premature Removal of the Backboard and Neck Brace.

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